“Jerusalem, We Are Here” Interactive Documentary

with Director and Producer, Dorit Naaman

Alliance Atlantis Professor, Queens University

Picture of HMA - Alone

*A light lunch is served at 12:30 p.m. Talk begins promptly at 1:00 p.m.

If houses and streets, neighborhoods and cities could tell us their stories, what would these be? The present dominates our sense of space, but the past is always enduring under the surface, even when it has been socially, politically and economically concealed.

Jerusalem, We Are Here is an interactive documentary that digitally brings Palestinians back into the Jerusalem neighborhoods from which they were expelled in 1948. Focusing primarily on the neighborhood of Katamon, Palestinian participants probed their families’ past and engaged with the painful present.

Working together, they produced short, poetic videos, filled with nostalgia, sorrow, and fleeting returns. The films are embedded into a virtual tour where the audience – in Amman, Cairo, Jerusalem, Paris, Toronto and beyond – can “walk” down the streets of Katamon as these were filmed in 2012-2015. As one meanders down the streets of contemporary Jerusalem, the soundscape is of the 1940s; and when one reaches the home of each participant, one watches the video/audio produced. As the generation of Palestinians who survived the Nakba (the 1948 catastrophe) is aging and passing on, there is an urgent need to collect their stories and knowledge, and remap the space that has been declared entirely Israeli. When people flee war, they rarely take with them their photo albums or documents or the art off the walls. Remapping the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, house by house, is an organic and communal activity that places them back in their homes, albeit virtually.

Dorit Naaman  is a documentarist and film theorist born and raised in Jerusalem. She teaches film and media at Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, and splits her time between Canada and Jerusalem.  Dorit developed a format of short personal documentaries, which she called DiaDocuMEntaRy.  She has published on Israeli and to a lesser extent Palestinian cinema, focusing on gender, nationalism and militarism. She initiated Jerusalem, We Are Here as a collaborative platform that can map and tell the stories of a Jerusalem that is no longer visible.  To learn more about her work visit: www.diadocumentary.com

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